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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unity Statement Against the Legislation of Hate in Arizona


Jobs With Justice, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Immigration Law Center, National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, National Peoples’ Action, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice

In Arizona, the die is cast. On Friday, April 23, Governor Brewer signed SB 1070. The new law forces police officers to arrest Latinos on a “reasonable suspicion” of being undocumented.

Arizona has declared open season on people of color. Children on their way to school will not know if they will see their parents when they return. Families will go to church on Sunday afraid of being detained during mass. US citizens who don’t look white will be detained on their way to work if they forget their birth certificates at home. This law will push hundreds of thousands of terrified Arizona families into hiding.

Civil rights leaders, constitutional rights scholars, legal experts, elected officials, and police chiefs across the country are repudiating SB 1070. The new law sets the clock back on a generation of civil rights gains, mandates racial profiling, jeopardizes public safety, and creates a wedge between law enforcement and ethnic communities.

Now Americans are confronted with a stark choice: will we stay silent as thousands of Latino families are rounded up in Arizona under this new law? It is imperative that all Americans repudiate the most aggressively racist, nativist, anti-immigrant legislation in recent U.S. history. As Americans, we must all raise our voices in favor of this nation’s principles of equality, fairness and inclusion.

The targets of this hatred are not strangers. We know them. Our American lives are bound inextricably with theirs. This law, and others like it, will terrorize our nannies and our gardeners. Our nurses and our home care workers. But it will not stop there. It will also terrorize our college students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Everyone who looks nonwhite—be they citizens, legal permanent residents, temporary visa holders, or undocumented—all of them will be attacked under this law. If they disappear, we will feel it.

So we urge all Americans: talk to these members of your community about the new law in Arizona. Ask them about their own lives, their families’ lives, and the dreams that would be deferred if the terror came to your state. Then march with them on May 1 to express your outrage.

In the past, we’ve seen through racism and hatred dressed up as “law and order.” In another era, when Bull Connor set attack dogs loose on Black residents in Birmingham, he did it in the name of “law and order.” But we saw through it—and stood together against it. We sided with humanity and morality, with the rule of law and with the self-evident truth that all human beings are created equal.

We call on all Americans to make that choice once again: choose the politics of humanity, not the politics of hate.

We congratulate President Obama on his condemnation of this heinous new law. We now call on him to take leadership and action in the face of this crisis. The Obama Administration must publicly oppose, and terminate all programs setting up collaboration between local law enforcement and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These programs increase racial profiling, undermine our Constitution, and instill fear in all communities.

We must choose morality and inclusion over hatred and exclusion. And we must make our choice loud and clear – before the racism in Arizona comes to every state in America.

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